Quake-shelter marae faced communication breakdown - Flavell

4:28 pm on 27 November 2016

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell will talk to ministers about improving communications between marae and agencies during natural disasters, he says.

Takahanga Marae served more than 10,000 meals over the past week.

Takahanga Marae served more than 10,000 meals over the past week. Photo: RNZ / Max Towle

Mr Flavell visited Kaikōura yesterday, almost a fortnight after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which rocked the region.

The town's Takahanga Marae became a makeshift welfare centre after the quake and served about 10,000 meals.

Mr Flavell said people flooded to the marae, and many people had worked around the clock looking after visitors.

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell Photo: Leigh Marama McLachlan

He said he had nothing but admiration for the work people at the marae did in difficult circumstances.

"There was nothing else available at the time so everybody headed to the marae.

"I think we've got some huge gaps to close with respect in communication between agencies and places like marae in these sorts of situations.

"I'll certainly be taking up some of the issues they identified to me about the breakdown in communications with other agencies with the appropriate ministers."

Kaikoura  - Takahanga Marae feeding the masses of stranded tourists.

Takahanga marae served up about 10,000 meals to those who needed it after the quake, including large numbers of stranded tourists. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

"What was clearly pointed out to me is a breakdown in the communication between the marae and the support agencies, right through to Red Cross which is a bit of a surprise.

"What's been highlighted to me is the need for us to look at far better communication with marae because they are a natural place for people to go and agencies who look after people as they come through."

Te Ururoa Flavell, who used to be a teacher in Kaikōura, said he was surprised at the way the coastline after the quake had changed, especially around the seal colony.

"I can't comprehend what the local community went through, not just during the earthquake, but in the hours and days afterwards.

"We really hope that the Kaikoura community can come through this because some of the industries, the fishing, the tourism are sure going to take a big hit."

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